Way back in 2008 I went to a conference which hosted some big names like Mark Driscoll, Kevin DeYoung, and Francis Chan. What I remember the most of the conference was a little aside that Francis Chan shared during his plenary session. I wrote it down in my notes, typed it up when I got home, and it has hung on the wall of my office ever since. A few years ago, I found this article, where Chan bolstered his list at the Desiring God Conference, so my list has been adapted to match this one.
The actual process of sermon writing happens at my house, but I get plenty of face time with this little document as I prepare for my sermon throughout the week. I think they are great and necessary points of thought for the young preacher and the established herald of God’s word. Here are “7 Points to Consider Before You Preach (or teach)” by Francis Chan.
- Am I worried about what people think of my message, or what God thinks? (Teach with fear)
- Do I genuinely love these people? (Teach with Love)
- Am I accurately presenting this passage (Teach with Accuracy)
- Am I depending on the Holy Spirit’s power or my own cleverness? (Teach with Power)*
- Have I applied this message to my own life? (Teach with Integrity)**
- Will this message draw attention to me or to God? (Teach with humility)
- Do the people really need this message? (Teach with urgency)
(*My Senior Pastor often refers to one of his professors who said of his sermons: “When I am done with my sermon, I look over my manuscript, and if I find anything clever in it…I take it out.”)
(**While I deeply appreciate this point, it does not mean that preachers and teachers must be fully perfected in the content the message presents. A pastor who struggles with lust can still teach on the dangers of lust, and the need to put off the sin through the power of the Holy Spirit. You don’t need to be the world’s greatest evangelist to preach or teach on the need for evangelism. But you need to desire the things you preach of in the same way you desire for your congregation to master these issues. A good pastor is not without sin, but needs to be fully aware, and honest, of the sin which he is still attempting to put to death. I have often heard pastors say, “How can I preach this topic when I myself struggle so much with it?” Because you struggle with it is exactly the reason you should preach on it. Testify to the weight of scripture, and the power of Christ in allowing us to apply it through grace. Remember, the Ninevites needed Jonah’s message of grace even though Jonah himself wrestled with it.)